It is my 32nd birthday this year, and I am having these deep reflections around how much I need to learn and how much I still do not know. Yet somewhere along the way, I’ve managed to pick up some pretty awesome tools which I wish I could have had when I was in my early twenties.
1. Be nicer to your little hermanita
Those stupid fights are not necessary, there is no need to assert your age dominance over this tiny person who admires you to a fault. Nobody told me that it would be little sister who I would be calling in my late twenties and early thirties, because I felt alone and my friends felt distant. Nobody told me how significant she would become to me, and how instrumental our relationship is for me. We get one another in a way that no one in our family can, and a love like ours cannot be replaced. Just wish I had spent less time fighting with her and more time nurturing that when I was younger.
2. If your pastor’s sermons are not inclusive of people of all genders, sexuality, races, and classes then it is NOT from God
I come from a family whose church ties mean more to them than gold, and I wish I would have challenged my senior pastor more, or at all. I had his ear, as an associate pastor’s kid, and I should have been more willing to push back. Had church been framed as a place of love and justice, maybe I would still be attending church today.
3. You mami is not what your papi paints her to be
I was a daddy’s girl for a really really long time. My papi would vent to me about his job, and his marriage. I thought I was special and he trusted me, little did I understand that he was manipulating me against her so that she felt isolated. When I finally figured it out, I was no longer living at home and I wish I could have been more vigilant when I was there, been more aware.
4. Do not get married so young
In my upbringing there was a huge emphasis on marriage, so as to avoid a teen pregnancy or just being a single mom. There was a taught shame around those realities, especially in my church. So I felt pressured to marry while I was still so young and still formulating ideas about myself. I should have said no to my parents more, I should have rebelled against them and stood up for myself. You would have been better off fighting with them than rebuilding your life from the shambles divorce left you in.
5. Your mami’s love know no bounds
I was an obedient kid, I did everything she asked. Had I known that how willing and encouraging my mom would be about me declaring my independence I would have done it sooner. I could have never imagined that my mami would be the one I could talk to about my hoe-adventures. My mami stood with me as I changed and grew before everyone’s eyes. My mami defended me against people who talked ill of me, and did not mind burning bridges for me. Had I known I had the type of mami that could love me through my changes I would have been kinder to myself.